Before we adopted the We are Flint moniker we were known as Version2.
It was never meant to be our name for long. We had started working with a number of clients and needed a name to trade under. Version2 was so named to signify that it was always meant to evolve into a second version.
With the EU referendum campaign and, as we saw it, the failure of experts to effectively engage the public, the business had a newfound purpose. And with that, we adopted We are Flint.
But now it’s time to say goodbye.
We wanted to challenge what a brand could be
When We are Flint was born, we wanted to push the idea of a brand further.
We ditched the concept of a logo, instead going for a series of fonts to depict our name differently depending on the context. We used the letter “F” as an icon, again customising it to suit its environment, including for our clients.
A lot has happened since then. Our revenue has increased by a factor of ten, landing the kind of clients we had only dreamed of working with.
We’ve worked on some amazing projects, from a pan-European creative strategy for a climate change campaign group, to an interactive digital tool to help senior executives realise the impact their businesses may have on modern slavery, to branding a new breed of academic journal and keeping it fresh every quarter.
And then there are the internal projects.
We ran an experiment on Twitter to see whether politicians use sound logic when they argue on the platform and found that they don’t argue, they just make assertions. We’ve commissioned research on what the public think about think tanks, and been invited to present it to over one thousand think tankers. And we got stuck into how memes work, and how they were used in the 2016 American elections.
It’s been a huge amount of fun. And the We are Flint brand has been a large part of that, providing us with a visual framework to promote our work and our thinking. The imagery has been a personal favourite. There’s nothing quite like an image of a bonfire on the front cover of a proposal to get things heating up.
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Strong visual identities tap into emotion at a neural level. They simplify decision-making, acting as a quality-assurance mechanism, and tapping into our audience’s heuristics. Strong visual identities mean we don’t have to think. They are powerful because we are lazy.
We are Flint has been that powerful identity for us. But it needed to change.
Spreading ideas takes more than fire
The idea behind We are Flint was that we would light a fire under brave ideas. For the last 12 months we’ve felt that that wasn’t the right foundation.
It is not enough to light a fire under a pre-formed idea and then expect it to spread on its own. This is a really common issue we see many think tanks and research-focused organisations grappling with. Often, ideas only get to the communications team when they are to be put out into the world. At which point, they’re often already in the wrong form for their purpose.
Ideas need to be molded, worked and reworked. They need to be shaped by their end goal in order to have salience and impact. They need a human touch.
Our new brand speaks to this.
Watch this space
We’ll be putting out plenty more about our new brand in the weeks to come. I’m incredibly excited to see what you make of it.
Before that, we’re saying goodbye to We are Flint. We started this process on Bonfire Night, inviting colleagues and freelancers, past and present, to help us light a fire under the brave idea that was We are Flint. Unlike our tagline, it wasn’t a metaphor.
It was emotional to say goodbye to a brand that has been such a large part of my life for the past three years. But it was a fitting end.